Eight years ago, the world was different. It's like taking a glimpse at a whole new world. I was only 14, freshman in high school. There were many experiences I had not had yet, most of the experiences were just dreams then, not reality. In D.C. around the same time, President Bush was handing over his presidential duties to Barack Obama, a man from Chicago that had won the election and made history, becoming the first African American president in America's history. 

Today is also historic, but for some it's not as bright and inspirational. 

You see, President Obama wasn't just the president of the United States of America to me. He was an integral part of my high school and college years. While he's only Sasha and Malia's father, Obama was a role model, a leader, and a beacon of hope for me, and many others. He was a significant part in changing people's lives: affordable healthcare, legalizing marriage equality and giving LGBTQIA citizens the same rights as any other married couple, working towards better unemployment rates, reaching out to communities, and giving people hope. By no means was the Obama administration perfect, but is there any other president in the last couple decades that can provide a better example of what it means to be an American, or better yet, a decent, compassionate human being in 2017?

As I said, today is history too, just as the same inaugural day in 2009 turned out to be. Obama gave the example to the American people. Just because he is no longer serving under the title of president doesn't mean the vision he helped future generations see for America dies with his terms. We forget often that change starts with small acts, until it grows into something larger than all of us. Be the change and hope Obama brought to America in his 8 years, because he believes in us just as much as we believed in him as president. 

Thank you, Barack Obama and Michelle Obama, for creating an image and hope for the future of America. I know I'll miss your presence in Washington, but there's work to be done, voices to be heard, and people that will continue to press on against the currents. We, the people, will always keep striving for the vision of America we want. Let's make sure that no matter who holds seat in the White House, the dream for America never dies. 

America was built on daredevils and free thinkers who wanted a new, free world for themselves. So why not channel our founding fathers from this point forward, commit to the work set out for us, and continue on the way we are headed? Sure, having a leader who is on the same page as the people is lovely, but it isn't necessary. We, the people, are a voice of millions, whereas he is the voice of one. The voices of the masses are the tools of democracy, and the moment we fail to acknowledge that is the moment we lose sight of the future that lies ahead. 

So strap up your boots my friends, family, and like minded citizens! If America is going to become the vision we want it to be, it's not up to the new president anymore. It's up to us, each individual, to do their part in making it happen. Be the change that began Obama's and America's legacy, because one day we might just create our own in the process.